We don’t have to tell you: buying a house isn’t cheap.
Indeed, the median house price in the US currently comes in at a hefty $280,000.
Clearly, that’s a heavy investment by anyone’s standards.
For first time home buyers, these figures can be a daunting prospect. With such sums of money on the table, it’s hard to know the best way forward.
Is it better to buy a starter home to get on the housing ladder quicker? Or, is it better to wait longer and save up for your dream home (aka a forever house)?
We wanted to help. Are you in the process of deciding between these two options?
Keep reading to discover all the pros and cons of starter homes and forever homes.
Let’s begin by going through the various upsides and downsides of purchasing a starter house. These are houses that won’t be perfect. But they’ll do the trick for at least a few years to come until it’s time to move on.
Good stuff first! Here are all the advantages of a starter home:
Starter homes are cheaper homes.
That’s good news for younger individuals or couples looking to get on the property ladder.
It’s less likely that many people will have sufficient savings to cover significant down payments. That means starter houses are more likely to fall within their price range.
You can learn more about house prices by following that link.
2. Move in Date
Buying something you can already afford means you can move in sooner!
Purchasing your first property is a momentous occasion. If you feel ready to do it, then you’re unlikely to want to wait! Anyone impatient to buy, and unwilling to save up, should go for a starter house.
Likewise, the situation might call for decisions to be made quickly. New jobs, family changes, circumstantial shifts and so on can all call for an earlier move-in date.
3. Investment/Rental Opportunity
A starter home can quickly grow in value.
That’s especially true for certain sought after locations. Moving early into an up and coming area can pay off in kind in due course. What you buy for a steal may be worth exponentially more in the future.
Likewise, you could look to use it as a rental property in time as well. That income can pay the mortgage for you.
Now, on to the downsides. Here are all the cons involved:
1. More Moving
The nature of a starter home means it won’t be forever.
That’s bad news if you don’t like moving house! When it comes the time to move onwards and upwards, you have to go through all the same hassle of packing, moving and unloading.
This is time consuming, costly and a lot of effort all round!
2. Upfront Costs
Starter houses often need work done on them.
After all, there’s a reason they’re cheaper! Even if everything is fine structurally, there may be improvements you’d like to make on it anyway.
Let’s face it, a starter home will never be the house of your dreams. It’s often worth investing in it to make it feel more comfortable and in line with personal tastes. But that all costs money!
3. Trouble Selling On
Most disconcerting of all is the potential trouble selling the property on.
You may be ready to leave the house. You may have a new one lined up. But if no-one wants the property, it can be a long and arduous process to get out of it.
With the starter house covered, let’s consider the pros and cons of forever homes. These are the houses you can picture yourself living in indefinitely.
Again, we’ll begin with the positives. Here’s what you’ll benefit from with a forever house:
1. Dream Home
A forever house has that name for a reason.
It’s one you can see yourself in for a long time to come. That means you can imagine living there for 20 to 30 years at the least. If that’s the case, then it’s likely to tick all the right boxes in terms of location, aesthetic, land, development opportunities and so on.
That all adds up to a place you’ll be happy in! You get the house of your dreams to enjoy for years to come.
2. Caters for Growing Families
Forever houses tend to be larger than starter houses.
That’s an important asset for any couples looking at starting a family. Pets and children both need space, after all! Having a forever house with enough rooms and land to cope can make a big difference.
Buying a forever house means no further housing decisions for a long time to come.
Sure, you may choose to sell it in future (for a handsome return, no doubt), but there’s no rush. You’ve got decades of time to enjoy the space. No more packing and unloading cardboard boxes for you!
Finally, the disadvantages:
1. The Price Tag
All of those advantages come with at a cost…literally.
Forever homes will always be far more expensive. The down payment and mortgage requirements can be difficult for first-time buyers to cover.
It’s likely that you’ll have to wait for many years to save up. If you’re unwilling to wait to buy a property, then this isn’t a nice thought.
2. Decreasing Affordability
A quick additional point:
Forever houses are unlikely to get any cheaper! Sure, you may be able to save money over time. But you must ensure your savings and earnings match the rate at which the house appreciates in value.
Forever homes can be a daunting prospect for anyone averse to commitment!
Likewise, no-one knows what’s around the corner. As they say, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry! You can end up locking yourself into expensive payments only for your life to throw a curveball.
Be sure you’re sufficiently settled before investing in a forever house.
Time to Decide
With all the pros and cons laid out, it’s a matter of deciding what works best for you!
As we’ve seen, buying a house for the first time is an exciting, but daunting, prospect.
It’s important to figure out the best way forward for you in relation to current circumstances and aspirations. Hopefully, the information in this post has helped you realize whether starter homes or forever homes are more up your street!
Want more housing-related advice? Check out all of our similar articles on the real-estate section of the blog.